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Richard Petty gives 'The Bird' to Hardee's customers in Harrisburg

The King made a pop-up appearance at the restaurant and surprised visitors by handing them their orders as part of a sponsorship deal.

HARRISBURG, N.C. — It's been nearly 30 years since Richard Petty competed in NASCAR's premier series but his legendary presence continues to leave fans in awe.

On Monday, people who went to get food at the Hardee's location in Harrisburg were greeted by Petty, draped in his signature cowboy hat and a Hardee's apron.

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Each person that ordered by the drive-thru or dined in was greeted by Petty who gave them "The Bird," or chicken sandwiches.

Hardee's customers expressed joy witnessing their order being handed to them under that classic Petty smile.

"It's always nice to go out and meet fans," said Petty. "There will be kids that have watched Cars and they know Mr. The King but they don't know Richard Petty so it's interesting."

Petty teamed up with Hardee's to give customers "The Bird" in connection with a sponsorship deal where the company plans to use the NASCAR Hall of Famer as an endorser.

"Hardee's started in North Carolina and then they got involved in racing," said Petty. "So that got all of the teams interested in Hardee's and once we started eating there, there was no other place to go."

The 85-year-old Randolph County native posted an interesting remark leading up to Monday's event.

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Hardee's has been seen as an associate sponsor in recent weeks for Erik Jones, who drives for Petty GMS Racing, which is partially owned by Petty.

Petty won 200 races and seven championships in his NASCAR Cup Series career, which lasted from 1958 to 1992. His win total is by far the most in NASCAR history and he is tied with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson for most titles. Petty was an inaugural member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame when it opened in 2010.

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